Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Relocated: Yuan Garden Dim Sum House @ SS2 PJ

A couple of months back, we drove past Restoran Yuan Garden Dim Sum House @ SS2 PJ and realised that the restaurant was no longer on SS2/24 (read my previous review here).  On returning home, I found information online that they have moved to the row behind at SS2/30 (the same row as The Lobsterman).
So, we made our way to the new location one Sunday morning.  On reaching the new place, what was surprising was that the restaurant is now situated in an intermediate lot and only about half the size of the previous location (where it used to be a bigger corner lot).  Of course, that would mean less customers (although it was still fully occupied) and we did manage to secure a table quite immediately...I was beginning to fear the worse!  In my world, when a restaurant shrinks in size, instead of expanding, it doesn't bode very well for the restaurant. 
My fears would soon subside when the plates of dim sum started arriving.  We'll start with some of the new dim sum dishes we tried (that we didn't order the last time).

I think these were Spicy Prawn Dumplings with a prawn and minced pork filling (if I remember correctly) in a slightly spicy-sweet-sour sauce.  What was great about this dish was it came piping hot and the sauce (which was more like a hot broth) was to our liking.

This was the "Sang Kan Yuen" which I found to be decent.  They're fish balls wrapped in a very thin skin (not sure what they call that in English but looks something like a pork fat netting).

Yet another fish paste dim sum...Fried Fish Balls which tasted pleasant enough.  These may not look fried to you but they're...ever so lightly coz there's a steamed fish ball version also.

This was the Fried Rice Paper Rolls with a filling of minced meat and vegetables.  We didn't get it super crispy, so not my favourite although it was still alright.

But that wasn't the case when it came to their Fried Yam Puffs as they were served super crispy with a decent flavoured filling.  This is probably the yam puff with the crispiest crust I've eaten and the best dim sum item here for me....and, if the filling had been more on point, it would probably be my most favourite yam puff todate.
And these were some of the repeated dim sum orders that we'd usually order when we're eating here.
I'll start with the 'hidden gem' and surprise find at a dim sum restaurant...the "siew yoke" (roasted pork).  This is a siew yoke that's leaner than usual but still has a small layer of fat in between with a tinge of pink at the bottom....cooked just right!  The skin was crispy and crackling...even the spicy chilli dip (with a real kick) was was still so, so good!
Who are we kidding?  One plate just won't do! :D  And because this isn't typically a dim sum item, I had to rank the yam puff ahead of this one as the best dim sum here. 

The Stuffed Brinjal was still as good with the soft caramelised brinjal in between a very thick fish paste filling...and the filling was still thicker than the brinjal.  The sauce, once again, complemented the stuffed brinjal and took away the usual oiliness associated with this dish. 

That's probably why my spouse found this brinjal to be his favourite.  Again, one plate will never be quite enough :)  Personally, I prefer a thicker cut of brinjal to filling but those who enjoy a thicker filling would surely appreciate this one.

"Siew Mai" (Steamed Pork Dumplings)
Bacon Rolls of fish paste rolls wrapped in fried bacon....a bit of sauce overload but still as good!
Steamed Bean Curd Rolls wrapped in bean curd sheets in a sweet and sour sauce

The Fried "Lor Bak Kou" (Carrot Cake) tasted better this time round.  This time, the carrot cake was fried till they developed a nice, caramelised exterior.  If there was a cause for complaint, it would be that there were more bean sprouts than there were carrot cake pieces although I do love my bean sprouts.

Finally, this was the Fried "Har Guin" (Prawn Roll) which had good sized, fresh prawns in the filling with a very crispy bean curd sheet wrapping.  This dim sum item has vastly improved from the last time we had it (even my son thought so as he's very critical about his beloved fried prawn rolls).  Not only that but they were served freshly fried and piping hot to our table...and, of course, we had to order more! 

But then our happiness was short-lived coz, on a subsequent visit, it wasn't quite as good as we found the bottom of the plate rather oily, probably due to the frying temperature not being at the optimum temperature when the rolls hit the hot oil.

The Lotus Leaf Wrapped Steamed Glutinous Rice was a bit different from the one we had last time though still fairly good.  The glutinous rice was more yellowish and it was now filled with a piece roasted pork (instead of minced meat), salted egg and dried prawns.

The Porridge was also one of my favourites here previously with its just-nice consistency and bits of minced pork, salted egg and century egg.  The topping of fried "yau char kwai" (Chinese crullers) is also the crispiest I've had in a bowl of porridge.  It's then finished off with a fragrant drizzle of sesame oil.

The dim sum items are reasonably priced between RM3.50 - RM6.50 a plate.
My Personal Opinion

This restaurant used to offer average dim sum at best but I've seen some improvements since they moved to this new place.  I'm not sure why but it could be because the new place is only about half the size of their previous restaurant.  As such, the smaller crowd enabled them to serve more of their dim sum piping hot or freshly fried....and maybe it's because of this that I see some improvements in the flavours of some of their dim sum items.  [#Note: On a recent revisit, however, I saw a large group of people going upstairs which tells me that they probably occupy another floor and that the place is not as small as I envisaged.  But, still, most patrons choose to sit downstairs (so, it's still relatively smaller compared to their old place) and the dim sum carts make their way to your table very promptly (unlike the previous place).]

My top picks would be the yam puffs, siew yoke and porridge.

We certainly enjoyed our dim sum more at this new place...and we'll keep coming back for even more, I'm sure.

Restoran Yuan Garden Dim Sum House
31 Jalan SS2/30
47300 Petaling Jaya
Tel: 03-7873 5655

Friday, 25 September 2015

Crab Factory @ SS2 PJ

The opening of Brolly in Persiaran KLCC meant that Crab Factory is now available closer to home and accessible to patrons who live in KL.  But my friends and I decided to have our seafood fill at their original branch as we felt we'd be more at home with the overall feel and ambience of everyone digging in and eating with their hands.

So, on a Saturday afternoon, we made our way to Crab Factory @ SS2 PJ.  As this was lunch time, it was much easier to secure a table without reservations.  In fact, we were the first ones here.

The Crab Factory's Original Louisiana Boil takes a page off backyard seafood boils where family and friends would gather for great food and good company.  You'd find prices of the seafood displayed on boards on the walls of the restaurant.  Some seafood may be seasonal but you'd still have a good selection of seafood to choose from.

Currently, the prices (just in case you'd like to know or wish to weigh the costs to see if this will be an affordable meal for you) are as follows:

Meat Crabs - available in different weights with each offering 2 pcs of crabs
RM218 (700g) / RM183 (600g) / RM148 (500g) / RM109 (400g) / RM85 (300g with 3 pcs)
King Crabs - RM34 per 100g / Brown Crabs - RM19 per 100g
Bamboo Lobsters - RM30 per 100g / Canadian Lobsters - RM190 for 2 pcs
Slipper Lobsters - RM65 (500g) / RM123 (1kg)
Australian Yabbies - RM88 (500g) / RM168 (1kg)
Japanese Amaebi - RM98 (500g) / RM186 (1kg)
Freshwater Prawns - RM59 (500g) / RM110 (1kg)
Canadian Scallops - RM96 (500g) / RM182 (1kg)
New Zealand Mussels - RM45 (500g) / RM81 (1kg)
Japanese Snails - RM30 (500g) / RM54 (1kg)
Baby Octopus - RM35 (500g) / RM63 (1kg)

How to Order:
Step 1 - Choose your seafood (and your desired weight).
Step 2 - Choose your sauce from a choice of zesty lemon & garlic butter (normal sauces) and Jamba-Jamba & Signature Southern Bang (spicy sauces) with a spiciness level of mild, medium, 'oly crab or death valley.
Step 3 - Choose your bag buddies from a choice of potatoes, corn, chicken sausages or mushrooms (king, button or enoki).

Once seated, our table was lined with a plastic sheet which will serve as our 'plates'.  And as soon as we've made our orders, our 'tools of the trade' appeared....a food hammer, nutcracker, plastic bibs and paper napkins.....everything you'll need to launch an 'assault' on the seafood to come! :D 

Put on your bib and let's get cracking......for some messy eating ahead!  Wear something appropriate, make sure your hands are jewellery-free...and get ready for the onslaught of flying cracked shells and sauce on your hands, arms or any part of your body! ;-D

Our first bag of goodies to arrive....Amaebi (500g) @ RM98 with king mushrooms (RM8.90) in zesty lemon sauce.  The sauce was absolutely tangy with the fresh taste of lemons and a strong flavour of black pepper.  This turned out to be my friends' favourite sauce.

These Japanese sweet shrimps were quite huge and they were utterly fresh and juicy.  The sweet taste of the prawns came shining through without being overpowered by the sauce.

Sucking on the prawn heads and all its juices is highly's an Asian thing to do! ;)

This was followed by our choice of Yabbies (500g) @ RM88 with corn (RM4.90) in garlic butter sauce.  The corn was surprisingly sweet and very tasty after absorbing all the garlic and butter flavours of the sauce.  This was my favourite sauce of the three.

The yabbies were just as fresh and juicy...and rather huge as well.  But to get at the meat of the yabby, it'll be a little trickier as the shell is harder to peel off.

Again, sucking the hell out of those yabby heads is again permitted! :D  I just couldn't resist playing with the yabby head which was kinda cute, don't you think?

Finally, our next bag was the 'piece de resistance'.....our bag of Meat Crabs (500g) @ RM148 with potatoes (RM7.90) in Jamba-Jamba sauce (mild).  We went with this weight for two decent sized crabs that are not too big (as those would be deemed too expensive) and not too small (that they won't be nice).

I originally wanted the crabs with garlic butter but the server recommended a spicy sauce and we settled for the mildest heat level as a member of our eating party can't take spiciness.  Even at mild, you can still feel the spiciness, so I definitely wouldn't recommend the other spice levels if you can't take the heat.  I can't imagine those who'd choose 'oly crab or death valley (maybe they had a death wish or maybe they just want to show they can handle the heat) but I personally wouldn't choose that as it'll overpower the taste of the crabs.  On hindsight, I would have preferred a milder sauce to let the crab shine coz I want to be able to taste the crab.  I wasn't overly impressed with this Jamba-Jamba sauce as I think our Chinese-style sweet and sour sauce (and our chilli crabs) tastes loads better.

The crabs were meaty with very fresh and sweet tasting meat.  Holy crap.....just look at the size of that claw!  You could pour out all the seafood from the bags onto the table top (like what you'd see on most blogs) but we didn't as we wanted the seafood to stay warm and steeped in its juices and sauce for as long as possible.

My favourite parts of the crab are the claws and the 'spaceship' (top shell of the crab).  I enjoyed eating all the innards in the 'spaceship' and digged all the goodness out....yum, yum! ;D  If this was an egg crab, that's where you'd find the eggs too (those that are still intact and have not fallen off into the sauce).

And this was the aftermath of our seafood looked like a typhoon just came through here!! :D :D  Well, it's certainly better to have enjoyed and made a mess than never to have enjoyed at all!

Of course, we just had to try the Gumbo @ RM13.90, a Louisiana staple of a stew or soup in a strongly-flavoured stock with sausage, shrimp, shredded chicken, rice and vegetables of celery, bell peppers and onions.  This was a hearty soup, full of spices, that I enjoyed very much.

For the two young ones in the party, I ordered a serving of Pollock Fish Fingers @ RM14.90 that came with fries sprinkled with something strange on top (that looked like icing sugar?).  I wouldn't know as I didn't have any.

For our drinks, we ordered four Smooshies @ RM8.90 each in the flavours of Guava+Soursop, Watermelon+Cucumber+Mint, Orange+Pineapple+Mango and Apple+Dragon Fruit.

We started our meal on a low....and then it went on a high...and ended on a low.....and here's why:

Side Story #1
I didn't know water was such a precious commodity until I came here.  My friend, who was in a detox programme, needed a cup of hot water to steep her detox tea bag as it has to be drunk before any meal intake.  She asked for it but the server say they don't have hot water (huh, a full running kitchen and they don't have water?).  I asked again, she told me the same thing.  So, I asked to speak to the manager.  She brought me her senior (not the manager as I saw the manager earlier as I can recognise him from their Facebook page).  He also gave me the same answer.  I then told him that my friend needed it for her medicine and he reluctantly agreed and finally returned with a disposable plastic cup filled with just an inch of water initially.  I asked for a bit more and he came back with two inches of hot, water is very precious here!  But when he saw my friend put a teabag into the water, he literarily pounced on her and said, "I thought you said it's for your medicine.  It's our policy that we don't allow outside food or drinks."  I told him, "This is not out an outside drink, it's a detox tea."

He continued to show his dissatisfaction and annoyance by questioning my friend further and she even brought out her packet of detox tea to prove to him (which she didn't need to, in my opinion, they obviously have not heard of the line "the customer is always right").  I can understand his displeasure if we had not ordered any drinks but there were four of us and we ordered four smooshies....isn't that enough?  Apparently not!  Here we are having a meal at their restaurant that is costing us close to RM500 and they can't bloody well give us two inches of hot water???  Shame on them!!!

Side Story #2
And our discontentment didn't end there.  When I reached home and checked the bill, I realised that I was overcharged RM25.75 (inclusive of 10% service charge) for four drinks that we didn't consume.  Yeah, I know, we're partly at fault for not checking the bill there and then but I would hope that they wouldn't be that incompetent as to charge someone else's drinks into our bill.  I usually do go through the bill before paying but, this time, because my friend's little one was crying and, in my haste to leave, I only checked the bill for the big item prices (the crabs, amaebi and yabbies) and not the entire bill.  I know it'd be impossible to claim a refund (not that we'd be bothered to anyway) as we cannot prove that we didn't consume those drinks but that didn't stop me from showing my displeasure with an email (2 weeks ago) to the restaurant just to see if they'd reply...and, of course, they didn't!  I rest my case!

My Personal Opinion

Overall, there was no denying that the seafood was extremely fresh and good tasting....and undeniably finger lickin' delicious!  We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves with this meal although the prices are very steep, not something we can indulge in on a regular basis.

As much as we enjoyed the meal, we can't say the same for the service!  We were really pissed off by the hot water and the overcharge in our bill.  Maybe, if the manager had handled the situation, it could have turned out differently, I don't know but he wasn't around at that point in time.

In the end (I'm still gonna be objective in my review), I have to say that the crabs were good......but the service was crap! >:(  Will I be back?  Let's see...I pay probably about the same amount for a meal in say a place where I'll be assured of getting good service (maybe even doted upon) or some other equivalent just-as-good seafood place.....what do you think?

The Crab Factory
21 Jalan SS2/64
47300 Petaling Jaya
Tel: 03-7865 5850

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Coffee Bun by Rotiboy Bakeshoppe

When I think of coffee bun, one bun comes to mind almost immediately....and that is Rotiboy's Coffee Bun.....the bun that started all the coffee bun craze (I think)!  Founded in Bukit Mertajam, Penang, in 1998, it made its foray into Kuala Lumpur in 2002 with its first shop in Wisma Central, Jalan Ampang, and have now expanded to 15 outlets in Klang Valley and beyond.

My first introduction to this coffee bun was through an ex-colleague many years ago.  Later, I found Rotiboy selling in KLCC.  At that time, you didn't have to know where the outlet was in KLCC, you just need to follow the scent of coffee to lead you there (although the scent is no longer apparent nowadays).  You can now find Rotiboy outlets in many leading malls throughout Malaysia. 

I think when Rotiboy first started, they sold only coffee buns but they've now evolved to include other baked buns, muffins, cakes, cookies, sandwiches, puffs and pastries, loaves and rolls.

Not only that but I noticed they've also added a few new "boys" (maybe not that new) into their repertoire...Buttermilkboy, Mochaboy and Kariboy in a recent 'reunion' with Rotiboy (of which I have not eaten for a while now).  So, when I was in KLCC recently, I got myself one "boy" each.

Their most famous bun is, of course, their coffee bun simply called Rotiboy @ RM2.65. 

The Rotiboy is a soft bun with a buttery filling on the inside and a coffee flavoured topping.  The sugary coffee topping is a bit crusty, crunchy and sweet with a good coffee aroma still (but just not as strong as yesteryears). 

But, on the upside, the bun is not as oily now as the bag seems almost oil-free.  I remembered that the brown paper bag that it used to come in would be rather oily (and your fingers too) after handling the bun.  The downside of's also not as buttery and fragrant now!

This is the ButtermilkBoy @ RM2.85 with an abundant filling and aroma of butter inside (just like Rotiboy) and topped with a bit of chocolate chips outside. 

The filling is probably mixed with butter, milk and sugar to create something custardy.  I found this to be not as sweet as Rotiboy but I wasn't liking the filling as much.

This is the MochaBoy @ RM2.85 which has a chocolate (and maybe a bit of coffee?) filling in it that turned out to be not overly sweet either. 

If you're a fan of chocolate, then you might like this one.

The KariBoy @ RM2.85 is their savoury option for the bun but wasn't as successful.  It was filled with a scarce potato and onion filling inside. 

I could taste a bit of curry powder in the mix.  Overall, it wasn't a very good "boy"...and the least successful bun of the four! :(

Even with the "new boys" in town, my favourite bun was (and still is) their Rotiboy coffee bun even though the coffee flavour is not as intense now.  It's probably still their best's a bun like no other!  Nowadays, many bakeries have come up with their own versions of coffee bun but I think it was Rotiboy who first started this coffee bun craze so many years ago! :)

Monday, 21 September 2015

O & S Restaurant (Part 3) @ Paramount Garden

This is like a trilogy of sorts, after Parts 1 and 2, I realised that I'm not done with this restaurant as yet.  You can read my earlier reviews here and here.

So, I found myself doing a Part 3 on O & S Restaurant @ Paramount Garden as there are still many food stalls here that have not been covered yet.
On a Sunday morning, we found our way here to our usual joint for breakfast.  My family had some of their usual favourites which I've already blogged about.  I ordered the Pork Ball Noodles @ RM5.50 and requested for the usual kway teow (dry-style), which was smooth and slippery, served with an acceptable minced pork topping with two slices of "siew cheong" (roasted pork sausage) that could do with a more intense flavour.
It was accompanied by a bowl of soup with three pieces of pork balls (or should I say squares).  The soup base here is more peppery than sweet which I preferred.  This pork ball noodles, though not the best I've had, was still passable in taste.
This was the "Kai Si Sar Hor Fun" @ RM6.60 which was probably one of the more expensive noodles here but then prawns are involved (so you be the judge).  The bowl of "sar hor fun" (flat rice noodles similar to kway teow, only smoother and thinner) with "kai si" (shredded chicken), half a prawn, two prawn wantans, Chinese chives and fried shallots.  The soup was decent tasting with a layer of fragrant prawn oil on top.

On my way out, through the side entrance of the shop, I saw this "bak chang" (glutinous rice dumplings) stall which I didn't notice before.  So, I stopped to get some bak chang @ RM5.50 each.
The glutinous rice was incredibly soft, just the way I like it!  The bak chang was filled with "lok tau" (mung or green beans), "foong lut" (chestnut), dried Chinese mushrooms and salted egg yolk.  The generous chunks of not overly fat and tender pork belly were melt-in-the-mouth tender...and surprisingly this was one that I was able to consume the fat as well. 

And if you're lucky, you can get your hands on this "kong fu chung" (Cantonese bak chang) which they make on certain days only.  Visually, the glutinous rice is white (as opposed to brown) as the rice is not stir-fried first (according to my mother-in-law).  So, this one has a 'cleaner' taste as it's just wrapped and boiled (but needs to be boiled for a longer time in order to soften).  I think I may have found another very good bak chang stall....yes!

I also noticed a new stall next to the bak chang stall selling Indian rojak on my way out.  It looked nice enough and I told myself I must come back to try....and so I did!  Here's my plate of Indian Rojak @ RM6 with "sotong" (squid) and RM2 for the additional prawn fritter.

For the price of RM6 + RM2, the serving of rojak came with the usual condiments of hard boiled egg, "taugeh" (bean sprouts), shreds of "sengkuang"  (jicama) and cucumber with a very generous amount of super tender sotong cooked Malay-style.  I liked that the sauce was more spicy like sambal than sweet like satay sauce.

My Personal Opinion

This is one place where I have yet to find a stall that wasn't decent (although some were better than others).  You may have to wait a while for seats but it'll be worth the wait as you'll be spoilt for choice here.
Even with a trilogy of posts on this restaurant, I'm nowhere near finish with the stalls, who knows, there may yet be a fourth instalment!  A tetralogy, perhaps?  LOL!
O & S Restaurant
39 Jalan 20/14
Paramount Garden
46300 Petaling Jaya
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